As church leaders, we spend a lot of time planning programs, events, and weekend gatherings for people in our communities. We think if we build it, they will come. But what if the people who come aren’t the ones we’re meant to reach?

Today on the Think Orange Podcast, we interview Virginia Ward about community asset mapping, a process for how churches can better understand what’s happening around them. We also join a conversation between Reggie Joiner, Kara Powell, and Jimmy Mellado, in which Jimmy talks about five behaviors that shape Compassion’s workplace culture. We take some time to dive into the behavior of letting others in on your plans—both inside and outside your team.

Welcome to Episode 43 of the Think Orange Podcast!

Where To Listen:  iTunes  |  Google Play  |  Stitcher  |  SoundCloud

Topic Timeline

Dave and Ashley talk about Valentine’s Day (3:03)

Part 1 of Dave’s interview with Virginia Ward (6:45)

Explanation of community asset mapping (8:00)

Why it’s important to know who your neighbor is (10:12)

The analogy of salt mixing with manure (12:23)

Where Abundant Life Church got the idea to map their community assets (13:41)

How Abundant Life Church uses the results of their assessment on a weekly basis (14:37)

Throwing old school neighborhood block parties (15:45)

It’s not enough for churches to invite people to them—they’ve got to get outside their walls (19:23)

Conversation on culture with Reggie Joiner, Kara Powell, and Jimmy Mellado (20:04)

Culture is just how life happens—whether you have an initiative to improve it or not (21:01)

Five behaviors that have shaped Compassion International’s workplace culture (22:07):

• We behave like we’re here for a reason (22:53)

• We are 100 percent for each other (23:46)

• We are serious about growth—ours and others (24:36)

• We are careful with our words (25:43)

• We let others in (26:56)

Part 2 of Dave’s interview with Virginia Ward (28:08)

Steps for inviting other community leaders into your plans (28:24)

The benefits of community asset mapping from the church’s perspective (30:59)

Where to begin with community asset building (32:51)

Dave and Ashley’s final thoughts (34:26)

Dave sings Frank Sinatra for his wife (37:59)

People, Places & Helpful Resources

Featured Guests

Virginia Ward


Virginia is the Director of Leadership and Mentored Ministries at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Boston Campus, where she teaches classes in urban youth ministry, leadership, and directs mentored ministries. Virginia served as the first full-time Youth Pastor of the Abundant Life Church. She also served as the Director of Black Campus Ministries (BCM), New England for Intervarsity, a campus-based organization that seeks to build spiritual communities of students and faculty. She is the wife of 32 years of Bishop Lawrence Ward, Pastor of the Abundant Life Church in Cambridge, MA., and the mother of two adult sons, Paul and Mark.

Kara Powell


Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing YoungThe Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Essential Leadership, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. 

Reggie Joiner


Reggie is founder and CEO of Orange (The reThink Group). He has co-written three parenting books, Don’t Miss ItPlaying for Keeps and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity as well as other leadership books including A New Kind of Leader and Think Orange. Reggie lives in Georgia with his wife, Debbie, and has four grown children, Reggie Paul, Hannah, Sarah, and Rebekah.

Reggie Joiner


President and Chief Executive Officer of Compassion International, Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado has a deep love and passion for the beauty and potential of local churches. Born in El Salvador and raised in seven different countries, Jimmy has experienced firsthand the powerful impact thriving local churches can have on their communities, especially in under-resourced environments. Compassion’s church-based approach to delivering a holistic child development program resonates with Jimmy at a deep level. Prior to joining Compassion in June of 2013, Jimmy was president of the Willow Creek Association (WCA). During his 20-year tenure leading the WCA, worldwide ministry income grew from $2 million to more than $20 million and membership grew from 860 churches to over 7,000 churches.

Jimmy is married to Leanne and they have two daughters and a son.

Quotes from This Episode

Ideas to Influence the Next Generation

As leaders, we want to have all the answers. And many times, we do! But great leaders have as many questions as they do answers. Next time you sit down to consider what your community needs, take a moment to write down a list of questions you want to ask neighbors before you begin.

Once you’ve assessed the needs in your community, don’t be afraid to pivot from what you originally planned. That doesn’t mean you should waver from your mission. In fact, surrounded by the right team, it’ll help you carry out your mission even better.


Conversation Starters For Your Church

Is there anything we prioritize as a church that isn’t a felt need of people in our community? If so, what is it?

What’s something we want to do this coming year and who in our community could we invite in on the planning of it?

What are some ways we can elevate businesses and other organizations in our community this week?

Your Hosts

Dave Adamson, The Think Orange Podcast Host


When he’s not working as a pastor at North Point Ministries in Atlanta, Dave is usually making his family cross their arms, roll their eyes, and tap their feet while he takes “just one more quick photo” on family outings. You’ll also often find him up to his neck in “Jewish stuff” as he researches the cultural context of Jesus for his daily Instagram devotions. Learn more about Dave at

Ashley Bohinc, The Think Orange Podcast Host


Ashley serves as the Director of Middle School Strategy at Orange and the USA Director of Carry 117. She has worked with students in public education, athletic and ministry settings for the last 12 years. She is most passionate about resourcing the local church, communicating on stage, developing leaders, working with students and world missions. In her downtime, you’ll find her watching Friends, cheering on the Cleveland Cavaliers, traveling, reading, or on one of her Fairytale Friday Adventures.

Join Us Next Week

Thank you for listening to the Think Orange Podcast.

We hope you’ll join us for next week’s episode. More importantly, we hope that when you think next generation, you think Orange.